TDs to O Cuív: Don’t target OAPs

FIANNA FÁIL backbenchers have warned the Government targeting pensioners in the budget could have a disastrous effect on the party.

Social Protection Minister Éamon O Cuív has raised the possibility of cutting or reducing the state contributory pension for wealthy pensioners who have separate sources of income.

But at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party in Leinster House last night, a large number of TDs called on Mr O Cuív to ditch any such proposal.

Over a dozen TDs are understood to have spoken out, including Michael Woods, Noel Ahern, Noel O’Flynn, Ned O’Keeffe, Noel Treacy and Michael Kennedy.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr O’Flynn said he would oppose any move to target pensioners.

Citing recent data presented to Fianna Fáil TDs by polling company Red C, Mr O’Flynn said: “They shocked us by saying we had no voters under the age of 35. The only vote we have is the older vote, and now the Government is upsetting the older vote six months before the budget.

“If there’s any threat to OAPs, I won’t support it. I’ll just walk, because they’re the only vote we have,” Mr O’Flynn said.

Although Mr O Cuív spoke at the meeting, it’s understood he did not give a commitment either way, as budget decisions are a matter for Cabinet. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan was also at the meeting.

In a weekend interview, Mr O Cuív said: “It is possible to have a very significant private income and be getting a contributory pension. Someone on €50,000 to €100,000 a year should not be considered ahead of unemployed families that have a big mortgage. I don’t think I could rule out this group of people (pensioners on €50,000-plus a year) without a backward glance.”

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